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The St Louis Making the Grade series has undergone a brief hiatus (read: 8 months), but I am ready to resurrect it, in part because I have a number of places which are itching to be reviewed.  Today’s establishments are a pair of Mexican restaurants which count themselves amongst some of TFA corps members’ preferred list. Here…

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In 1999, a settlement was reached concerning a lawsuit from the 1970s that alleged city schools in the Saint Louis area were of inferior quality compared to those of the more affluent school districts in the surrounding county. This in fact was true and because of the racial and ethnic divisions in the St Louis…

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Jul 31 2011

Kids on fire

…is one of the concerns St Louis might be facing as the midwestern heatwave continues to pelt its unforgiving rays on the gateway to the west.  With the school year soon to begin (August 15 for most districts in the area including St Louis Public), questions have been raised about measures available in school buildings to keep kids kewl…

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Recently, I came across a spreadsheet that detailed some collegiate demographic data for current Teach For America St Louis corps members.  No it’s not a dossier of juicy details about intimate personal lives or Facebook logins, rather it is merely a list of the colleges attended by current 2010 and 2011 corps members and their…

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Jun 08 2011

School’s Out

Thursday marked the last day of my first year as a Teach For America corps member. My grades are in and my room is packed up into a single large cabinet, one paper box and two bags. This post is designed to serve as a brief reflection on my first year as well as a…

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Here’s another post in my STL Making the Grade series.  The two places featured in this post are the St. Louis Zoo and Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.  A refresher on my ratings criteria is below: Uniqueness (10%) Historical/Cultural Value (20%) Cost/Benefit (20%) Enjoyableness (50%) *Discretion is reserved for borderline grade changes (-’s & +’s)* 1) St. Louis…

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It’s been a while since my previous Making the Grade post, and I have been to a number of St. Louis locations since then.  Today, I’m grading two places that are also popular pay-day happy hour hotspots for CVPA teachers. As you may or may not recall, my criteria for rating places is as follows… <continue…

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Apr 24 2011

Another Tornado in St Louis

Leaving town for the weekend seems to work out well for me as I missed the latest excitement to hit the St. Louis metro area.  I’m not talking about Sam Bradford or Albert Pujols contract negotiations; rather, the tornado that ran rampant through northern St. Louis this past Friday.  Tornadoes seem to be somewhat thematic of my…

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Today, no state has a law on the books prohibiting linking student achievement to teacher performance. This quote from Education Secretary Arne Duncan raised a room of 11,000 Teach For America corp members, supporters and alumni to a rousing round of applause at the TFA 20th Anniversary Summit in February.  Merit pay for teachers has…

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Jan 12 2011

But it’s only 6 inches!

Yesterday, St. Louis was plagued with a torrential blizzard!  Thick, wet snow fell in layers from the sky, and when all was said and done, there were between… …4 and 6 inches on the ground in St. Louis… …and the schools were closed. In fact, school closure was called after only 2-3 inches at 5:37…

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About a month ago, I had the opportunity to embark on a pair of interesting excursions in the St Louis area. The first was a historical journey back 700 years to a place with which many NPS readers may not be familiar, Cohokia. Located just across the Mississippi from modern day St Louis, Cohokia was the…

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Nov 06 2010

Donors Schmooze

This post is slightly out-of-date, but I wanted to provide my brief reflections on the Teach For America “Meet the Teachers” event from October 28.  This event was designed for TFA-St Louis sponsors (donors who graciously committed $5000 or greater to the TFA-St Louis organization) to meet and interact with the teacher they are sponsoring.…

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Sep 27 2010

PD, PD & Pho Grand

I figure it’s about time for a TFA and St Louis update from me, since it has been a while.  This past week was filled with PD stuff and long nights at school. On Tuesday, I stayed after school to allow students to use the lab to work on their day to day assignments.  Four students…

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Sep 20 2010

I Have Captured the Monkey!

With my camera that is. Many of you asked questions about the title of my previous post, My Neighbor Has a Monkey, as to whether or not there actually is a monkey in the apartment complex.  Well, because you asked, I have since sought proof for you.  Recently, my neighbor has placed the monkey back on…

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Aug 18 2010

To Join or Not to Join?

That is the question I have to consider in relation to one of America’s most storied franchises; the teacher’s union. In particular, my dilemma concerns AFT Local 420, the teachers union for St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). The union structure in St. Louis is entirely optional; it is up to me whether it is worth $734…

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In the second installment of Making the Grade, I will evaluate two places I visited this past Sunday, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour & Crown Candy Kitchen.  As a reminder, the rubric I am using weighs four primary factors: Uniqueness (10%), Cultural/Historical Value (20%), Cost/Benefit Value (20%) & Enjoyableness (50%). (1) Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour Anheuser-Busch, recently…

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I have decided to start a new blog feature related to my Teach For America experience in St Louis.  Since I am quite new to the city, there are a number of sites, restaurants, etc. that I will be visiting throughout my two years here.  In true teacher fashion, I have decided that I will…

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Aug 07 2010

My Neighbor Has a Monkey

Over the past week, I have moved into a new apartment in St Louis, MO; I have attended a variety of Teach For America (TFA) workshops; I have interviewed and been hired for a teaching position and have had an opportunity to begin exploring the city of St Louis. 1) New Digs I have moved…

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Aug 01 2010

And then there were 30

I am presently sitting in my STL hotel room after 2 days of Teach For America Round Zero Kickoff.  Tomorrow I move into my new digs, but I wanted to take the time to reflect on the first two days of Round Zero. At this point, I am one of 30 STL CMs yet to…

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